Worth noting in this challenging passage are the specific word choices. "Minister" is the translators' choice for huperetes, most frequently applied to "officers" of various authorities (John 7:45-46). "Steward" is the somewhat more familiar term, oikonomos, the "house-law" for any enterprise that is large enough to require "officers." The first term denotes authority under higher authority, the second authority exercised within legal boundaries (Acts 5:22,26 and Luke 16:1).
These descriptive titles are certainly applicable to Christian leaders (Paul is applying it to himself in the above context), but they are also standards which all followers of Jesus Christ should emulate. All of us are of the "household of God" (Ephesians 2:19), and "every man" (I Peter 4:10) is to serve each other as "stewards" of God's grace. We serve "under" God's authority, exercising a great responsibility "within" the "law" of God's Word.
The Mysteries of God
The limitation and exercise of authority demanded of the Corinthians was to "minister" and "steward" the "mysteries" (plural) of God. Since the Lord's Kingdom, especially in these latter days, has grown so huge, a unique challenge for each Christian is to select where he or she will serve and give their talents, spiritual gifts, and resources. Certainly one of the criteria by which such a choice is to be made must involve the degree to which the organization is instructing and clarifying the "mysteries of God."
Readers of Acts & Facts are well aware of ICR's emphasis on the creation account and the accuracy of the Biblical record. One "mystery" we are "stewarding" is the nature of the Tri-une Godhead (Colossians 2:2) which displays the character of God (Romans 1:20). We encourage your participation with us because of the unique requirements in our secular and scientific culture that necessitates a concentration of specially trained "stewards" who can refute the designs of the many who deny the mysteries of God.